Since January of this year, it feels like my life has been taken over by work. I have had a very difficult maintaining a decent balance. My thoughts are almost always of work. I hope this is just a transition period and life won't always be like this. I hope to find a balance in the coming months. Mostly I'd like to get my thoughts back to myself.
Last year, I reviewed 2010. I think it is time to review 2011.
Last week was really awful. A close coworker had an accident and passed away. There are few words I can use to describe how I felt when I got the news. Bursting out into tears was such an immediate and uncontrolled response. I’ve been dealing will rolling tides of shock and sadness ever since.
This was someone I worked with every day. Now there is just a big empty space. I could share so many memories but I’ve done my best to share them with the family and with other coworkers. There is so much sadness. Going to the funeral helped but I still well up with tears at the thought of the family left behind. I feel overwhelmed by picking up the pieces at work.
I know the hardest part of this will eventually pass, but for now it all feels so impossible and sad.
If you are my family, a friend, coworker, or just an acquaintance, I want you to know that I love you. I value your impact on my life. I am thankful for the time we have together and value it because it is so, so short.
Randomly started listening to The Stone Roses today and I was struck by what an awesome album Second Coming is. It makes me think of my first year out of high school when I was living in Colorado. I was dating Rob and I'm pretty sure he introduced me to the album. I just spent some time reading about the band on wikipedia and was pleasantly surprised to read they announced a reunion tour in 2012. I hope they come to the US because I'd love to see them and be transported back a few years. Note to self: be on the lookout for The Stone Roses shows next year.
I'm sitting in a hotel room in Minneapolis working late to prepare for tomorrow's presentation. Suddenly I get a strong wiff of men's cologne. Even though I know I'm alone in this room, I find myself getting completely freaked out that a man is in my room. (Because I can smell him!) Then I go through a million horror movie scenes in my head where nothing ends well for me. I know this is ridiculous and my imagination is getting the best of me. I still look under the bed...just to make sure.
This is a good time of year. We are reminded to be thankful. Then we get to shower our loved ones with gifts (and often get showered ourselves). We decorate our homes. We have parties with friends, families, and coworkers. Then we think about the events of the past year and begin planning for the next. It's a good time of year.
This year Thanksgiving was pretty chill for me and Chris. We were both struggling with illness - Chris has a cough that just won't go away and I had a 24-hour stomach bug followed up with a cold. Personally, I spent a lot of the week of Thanksgiving in bed. Even while I was working, I was often working from bed. Then I napped a lot.
Thanksgiving day, we went to Ryan's house for a Thanksgiving feast. Ryan had his brother, Ben, and their grandmother visiting for the holiday and invited a few other friends for the meal. The guys cooked up an amazing meal and grandma's pie was delicious. I was especially appreciative that they moved up the meal time so that Chris could attend before he had to go to work. Yep, Chris had to work on Thanksgiving. That's one of the downsides to not having any seniority. But the work was light that evening and he got to come home early. It was just one more thing to be thankful for.
My favorite Thanksgiving tradition is when my family shares what they are thankful for at the dinner table. We put out a few kernels of corn next to each person's dinner plate and for each kernel they share one thing they are thankful for. I missed the tradition this year since I wasn't hosting the dinner. Then Chris and I missed it because he headed off to work.
I'm writing this while I'm on a plane back to Phoenix. Even though it's a week after Thanksgiving and I don't have any corn kernels, I'm going to share what I'm thankful for. In my mind's eye, I'm picking up each corn kernel and sharing with the family in my parents' dining room. (With the entire Internet hanging out in the wings, looking on.)
Now that it is December, we're moving into the Christmas season. I'm looking forward to going to Chris' company's holiday party tomorrow night then going to my company's party the following weekend. We're also keeping up a holiday tradition and going to the Desert Botanical Gardens for Las Noches de las Luminarias. It's always a romantic evening in a beautiful place that reminds me that I live in a really special place.
For Christmas, we're staying in Phoenix and keeping things low key. We will have friends over to share a big holiday meal, but otherwise do little else. I look forward to some quiet time with Chris to be thankful for the past year and think about the upcoming year.
I hope your holiday season is exactly what you need it to be.
Big news that I've been meaning to share - Chris got a job! About six weeks ago, he began working at an airline in their reservations department. Yep, he is the friendly voice on the end of the phone handling your travel reservations. The airline will remain nameless on my blog but its not a secret. They're based in Phoenix so it probably isn't too hard to figure out. I just don't want my site to pop up on Google for my husband's employer.
As many of you know, Chris went to school for the past three years and earned his degree in Housing and Community Development. His ideal job is in real estate development but unfortunately an opportunity in that industry hasn't developed into full-time work. He's still looking and actively applying for other positions. He's connected to a lot of wonderful people in Phoenix who think very highly of him. They just don't have enough work to hire him. We are sure it is just a matter of time. You and I both know that the economy needs a lot of time to improve.
So in the meantime, Chris is working for the airline and we plan to take advantage of the flight benefits. Yep, we can fly for free (when there is space available)! Not like I really want to be flying a whole lot more than I currently do, but it sure was nice going back to Texas this past weekend completely free.
I'm really proud of Chris for doing what is best for us and taking this job. Even though its a slog. Chris is underemployed with this job - he's so talented and smart and so, so good with people. He's doing great with the job and getting plenty of compliments from customers in his first few weeks. But he could be doing so much more if given the opportunity. I know it's frustrating to Chris to be in this place, especially after working so hard in school the past three years. Neither of us ever thought he'd have a hard time getting a job once he had a degree. Our economy is truly horrible right now.
So at this moment, we are both thankful that he is employed. I'm so thankful that this airline brought these reservation jobs back to the United States from the Philippines. Though from what Chris tells me, I really should thank the labor union who negotiated with the airline to get the jobs back to the States. Either way, I'm so glad Chris got one of the positions. It's good and I'm so proud of Chris.
I just finished leaving a comment on a friend's site telling her that I love reading what is going on with her life. I suppose it's time I share a bit about mine.
I've been in a funk the past few weeks. I've been feeling sorry for myself. I've been saying in my head (and sometimes to my husband who is so, so patient), "Woe is me, I have to travel all the time and am away from my husband, house, dogs, friends... Woe is me, I've given up so much of my personal life the past year and a half with all this travel. Woe is me, woe is me." Sometimes these things come out whiny and sometimes angry, other times sad.
But it is time to move on. Chris pointed out the other day that we've had unrealistic expectations around timing. Around how long it would take for him to find a job and how long I would keep this job. I've realized that it's time to reset expectations. So Monday night I looked at myself in the mirror and told myself that I've got to embrace the travel, quit complaining, and start feeling thankful rather than sorry for myself. Right now, I am so lucky to have a job. Period. I'm especially lucky that I am good at this job and I enjoy it.
So in the spirit of embracing travel, I did some sightseeing in Minneapolis this week. Tuesday night I went to the Mall of America. Impression - wow, really big mall (!) but just like every mall everywhere else in America. Wednesday night, I went to Matt's Bar with a group of coworkers and enjoyed an original Juicy Lucy. Impression - Juicy Lucys are delicious and its great to laugh with friends.
Now its Friday and I'm glad to be home. Plus, I don't have to travel for the next 3 weeks. Whoot, party!*
*And when I say party, I really mean lounging around the house, reveling in sleeping in my own bed, cuddling with the dogs, and chilling out with Chris. I think November's theme is going to be CHILL. Tonight I've already embraced the chill with a nap after work followed with a quiet night at home just me and the dogs.
Before you get into a cab without a pocketful of cash, ask the cab driver if he/she can take credit cards. Yesterday I forgot to ask so when we arrived at my hotel and I pulled out my credit card to pay, the cab driver told me his machine was broken. I had to go down the block to get cash (and pay a ridiculous fee since the bank wasn't mine). Then when I made it back to the cab, the driver didn't even have change. Total cab driver fail.